Transferring money from Toptal Pay to a European bank account

A few months ago, I was accepted to Toptal, one of the best freelancing platforms in the world. It is known for its high standards and only 3% of applicants pass the interview process.

When I received the first payment from Toptal, I was looking for a way how to transfer the money from the internal Toptal Pay system to my bank account in Europe. I tried various ways in order to find the most optimal one I would use for all future transactions.

In the previous post, I covered very similar topic about transferring money from Fidelity NetBenefits. But Toptal Pay provides different ways how to withdraw money from it so I’m going to list all the options here even if I repeat myself. If you’re too busy to read the whole article, just jump to the last option which is the best one I’ve found so far.

Just to be clear, I haven’t tried the first two options myself since it seems like a waste of money. If anyone has done it and there’s something wrong with my description, let me know in a comment. I’ve tried to do my research but someone with an actual experience knows it better.

Direct transfer

The first option that would probably come to your mind is to transfer money directly to your bank account. Although this is the fastest way how to get your money, it’s also the one where you lose the most.

First of all, your bank will charge you a fixed fee for receiving an international bank transfer. The exact amount largely depends on your bank but if you have a good one it can be close to nothing. For example, the bank where I have my primary account charges around €1 for such transactions but the other one I use charges up to €20. Toptal Pay also charges €1.25 for sending money to a bank account in the eurozone.

However, you will definitely lose much more on an exchange rate, especially if you transfer a large amount of money. It’s because banks use their own exchange rates to convert currencies and they’re far from the interbank exchange rate. For example, I would lose around 2% just on an exchange rate set by my bank.

Moreover, it seems that Toptal Pay supports transactions in only 10 currencies so you might not be able to use this method at all if you don’t have a bank account in any of them.


The second option it to transfer your money through PayPal. In this case, Toptal Pay charges you a $0.95 fee and then you can send the money from PayPal to your bank account for free.

What’s the catch? Based on your PayPal account currency, there is going to be a currency conversion in either the first or the second transaction. And since PayPal is known for the worst exchange rates on the market, you would lose at least 2.5% on that. So it’s even worse than the first option.


The third option is to use a service like Revolut. I mostly use it for physical card payments abroad, internet payments by a virtual card or to split bills with my friends. But it’s also a great way how to convert currencies since it uses the interbank exchange rate during the workweek (Monday to Friday GMT) and charges just 0.5% over a weekend.

You can have multiple accounts in different currencies in a Revolut mobile app. You’re able to easily transfer money between these accounts and you can also make a bank transfer to/from a given account. Those transfers are in most cases domestic ones so they are free.

However, Revolut doesn’t offer US bank account numbers to their customers based in Europe so all bank transfers from/to your USD account are processed by a UK or EU bank. If you try to send money from Toptal Pay to your Revolut USD account, a transaction will get reverted because of some Toptal Pay policies.

The only way how to get money from Toptal Pay directly to Revolut is to create a prepaid Toptal Visa card and use it to top up your Revolut USD account. But since this card has not been issued within the EEA, Revolut charges a small fee which was exactly 1.67% in my case.

Then you can exchange the money within the Revolut app using the interbank exchange rate (during the workweek!) and send it to your bank account as a domestic bank transfer. All this should be free if Revolut has a bank account in your country and your bank doesn’t charge you for incoming domestic transfers.


The fourth option is to use TransferWise, a service that offers a Borderless account for transferring money between different countries. TransferWise has an actual bank account in more countries than Revolut (including US) so you can make a domestic bank transfer for free (except for Toptal Pay fees).

TransferWise also uses the interbank exchange rate and it only charges a small fee for converting currencies. It is very transparent about the fee and you can always see the exact amount before you execute a transaction. In my case, the fee was around 0.5% so it might not be the best option if you need to exchange large amounts of money.

If you try to add your TransferWise USD bank account number as a new transfer method in Toptal Pay, make sure you choose United States, USD, and Bank Account method. There is only a small $0.50 fee for ACH transfer charged by Toptal Pay. However, if you chose Wire Transfer method, you would pay a $10 transfer fee.

TransferWise + Revolut

The last and the best option is to use a combination of TransferWise and Revolut. The former one provides free domestic bank transfers in many countries while the latter one enables you to exchange currencies for free using the interbank exchange rate (during the workweek). So how can you combine these two services to avoid almost all fees?

TransferWise allows you to order their debit card for £5 which can then be used to pay with any currencies in your account. On the other hand, Revolut enables you to top up your account by a European debit card for free. Do you see where I’m going here?

You can send money from Toptal Pay to your TransferWise USD account for $0.50 (Toptal Pay fee) since it is a domestic bank transfer. Then you can top up your Revolut USD account by a TransferWise debit card for free as it is a payment in the same currency. Revolut will tell you it’s not (because the card is actually in GBP) but don’t be afraid to proceed with the payment. There are truly no fees. Finally, you just need to convert currency within the Revolut app and send the money to your bank account.

The only problem is that Revolut sets card top-up limits by a special algorithm to avoid money laundering. It will allow you to only top up your account by a relatively small amount when you add a new card. They won’t tell you where exactly your 24-hour limit is and you’ll need to find it by trying smaller and smaller amounts. In my case it was $300. But I made a mistake and topped up my account every 24 hours. One day, I forgot about it and when I then tried again after 32 hours, I was able to transfer all my money and I haven’t hit the limit since then. So try to play with it and don’t just emulate a money-laundering machine by making one transaction every 24 hours.

And don’t forget that there is both a 24-hour and a 30-day online payment limit on your TransferWise debit card. But you can easily change the default one to the maximum amount in a mobile app.


This article was written at the times when Revolut Standard allowed around €6000 of exchanges at the interbank exchange rate without any fees. But this limit has been lowered to just €1000 so the situation has changed a little bit.

If you exchange less than $2850 a month, you will be fine using just Revolut Standard. You can either exchange part of it in Revolut and the rest in TransferWise (since all money needs to go through TransferWise anyway) or you can simply send everything to Revolut. It doesn’t really matter since both TransferWise and Revolut Standard charges the same 0.5% fee.

If for some reason you need to save your Revolut currency exchange limit for other transactions (e.g. online purchases in foreign currencies) then you might want to use just TransferWise to transfer your salary from Toptal Pay. But with 0.5% TransferWise fee this is only worth it if you transfer up to $20k a year.

In all other cases, you will be better off paying for Revolut Premium plan with unlimited currency exchange. Let’s say you earn $100k a year and you transfer all money to your European bank account every month. In such case, you will save around $330 a year with TransferWise + Revolut Premium compared to TransferWise + Revolut Standard and $400 compared to using just TransferWise alone. Go buy yourself something nice with the money you save.

17 thoughts on “Transferring money from Toptal Pay to a European bank account

  1. I prefer Transferwise among in all your list. It has everything I am looking for. It is secure, safe, cheap and very convenient. Its estimated time arrival is 24 hrs but the money arrives in just 5 minutes. Isn’t it amazing?

  2. From the tax residency point of view TransferWise has a very neat advantage over Revolut. In case of Revolut you have very limited options for countries as your permanent address.
    For example now I’m working on to become a tax resident in Paraguay, and I can change my address to Paraguay of my TransferWise account, but I can’t do the same with Revolut. This way the money that arrives to TransferWise is going to count as foreign income, which has zero tax in Paraguay 😉

    1. I’m not a tax expert but I don’t think your Revolut/Wise settings matter much here. You simply receive your money to Toptal Pay from Toptal LLC which is a US-based company. Whether you then directly send them to your local bank account, Revolut or Wise is irrelevant from the tax perspective in my opinion. What you receive into Toptal Pay account is taxable and it doesn’t matter what you do with your money after that. You can even top up your Toptal debit card, start paying for everything by this card and your money will never reach any kind of bank account.

      1. Hi

        Can I ask if by using a Toptal card directly without transferring any money to your bank account is a tax efficient way of being paid via Toptal. Would I then need to declare it as my income in my resident country (UK)?

        1. Hi Victor, as I said I’m not a tax expert so I cannot give you any legal advice. I’m a tax resident in Czech Republic where an invoice is considered to be paid the moment you can “freely move” the money yourself. And in case of Toptal, that’s when you receive it in your Toptal Pay account. Because after that you can either send it to your bank account or spent it using your Toptal card. But it doesn’t matter what you do since you have already received the money that’s considered to be your income and so you need to pay taxes from it. I believe it’s similar in other European countries (including UK) and there’s no legal way around it except for moving your tax residency to some tax haven.

      2. Hi Thomas thanks for this helpful post, I just started with Toptal and I live in France. I don’t see the Wise transfer option available anymore, I was thinking about using the Toptal prepaid card but I don’t get to find information about it. Do you know if I can use it anywhere in the world? thanks very much!

        1. Hi Julia! There’s never been a specific Wise transfer option in Toptal Pay. You simply need to create a USD balance inside your Wise account. Then you will get a US bank account number which you can enter into Toptal Pay.

          I wouldn’t use a Toptal card in Europe because they give you bad exchange rate just as any other bank or service (except for Wise and Revolut). But it’s totally fine to use it in the US or when paying for something in USD.

          1. Hey Thomas I just read this, thanks and sorry for the late answer, actually I didn’t know it was possible to have a bank account number in USD with Wise but it’s great to know, I just did it.
            I will check now Revolut and also will think about paying for the “secure transaction fee” when moving money from Wise to an other account (as Balint mentioned.)
            I haven’t asked for the Wise card, does it work correctly?

          2. Yes, Wise cards work without any problems. I previously had a physical card as it was the only option. But when it expired I discovered they started offering virtual cards as well. So I created one and it has been working equally well as the physical card. But I only use it to top up my Revolut account and then I use Revolut cards to pay for things online as well as in physical stores.

  3. Yeah the Toptal Card is up to you how risky you live and how much you think your tax agency has access for in the US : )
    There is also another way of transferring money to your local bank/currency efficiently through Revolut premium. The flow is the same as what livthomas already highlighted (Toptal -> Wise -> Revolut), but Revolut started charging Wise cards lately for topping up. Not sure if this was planned due to Brexit, but a lot of people in the Toptal slack channel had the same experience. If you are planning to move a lot of your cash from Wise, you should be able to do a transfer, which in USD it costs 5.57$ fixed Wise fee, 2.9$ SWIFT fee through Wise, and you can also “secure” your transfer (available on Wise website only, not in app) for 14$ so no more random and unknown intermediary fees will be added along the transfer path. This is not the best for moving money frequently, but basically you can move out all your USD from Wise for like 23$ if needed.

    1. Thanks for the answer, yeap I get it, hard to know when he agency’s gonna hit… I was thinking about using the card when travelling…
      Unluckily there is no wise option anymore, my options now are paypal, bank transfer and wire transfer, so I guess I’ll do a combinatin of the prepaid card and bank transfer…

      1. Can’t you just add your US wise account as another bank account in Toptal Payments? If you do, then the fee is just 0.5 USD to transfer to that account

    2. Revolut still doesn’t charge me anything for topping up my Revolut USD account with my Wise card. I even switched to Wise virtual card and there are no fees. Do you have a personal or business account at Wise?

  4. Thanks for this explanation. Revolut Premium does look like it might be the best option, with that no fee currency exchange. It depends if it’s at interbank rate or not. Otherwise, it’s possible that some of the options of Revolut Business might be better

    1. Revolut Premium always gives you an interbank exchange rate. That’s the main reason why I pay for it. Otherwise, I would use only Wise with their 0.5% fee which is still much lower compared to what most of the banks charge.

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